“The project is on schedule and work continues on the alignment,” said SANDAG project manager John Dorow, who added work is progressing on retaining walls for the new Balboa Avenue Trolley stop now under construction. “We’re also working on the pedestrian switchback ramp on the north side of Balboa Avenue. The big push for the project is to get these trolley stations up and running.”
On Aug. 1, 2019, San Diego City Council unanimously passed a specific plan calling for greater housing density and multi-modal connectivity for the new Balboa Avenue Trolley Station serving Pacific Beach and Clairemont. That stop is one of nine planned for the Mid-Coast Trolley under development to extend trolley service from Santa Fe Depot downtown to UTC, and also serving Old Town and UC San Diego, with two stops on-campus.
Trolley construction began in fall 2016. The new Balboa Avenue station is in a transit-oriented zone promoting higher housing densities and mass transit including bicycles and other multi-modal uses, as well as relaxing parking requirements for development.
Dorow noted work crews are busy grading both the Tecolote and Balboa Avenue Trolley stop parking areas. “Work is also wrapping up on the San Diego River Bridge further south,” he said adding, “In the next couple months, work on the reconfiguring of Friars Road will get underway. Work has also begun on the pedestrian ramp connecting Tecolote Road with Morena Boulevard, to improve pedestrian access to the trolley station.”
Karin Zirk, head of environmental watchdog Friends of Rose Creek, asked Dorow if SANDAG had any updates on completing last mile/first-mile access from the trolley station on Balboa Avenue to Pacific Beach, and was told that was a work in progress, and that safe access from the trolley station into PB would be from the Balboa Avenue Trolley Station, crossing the bridge over Balboa Avenue to the north. From there, it would pick up Santa Fe Street to Damon Avenue, then go west on Damon Avenue until reaching Rose Creek Bikeway on the east side of Damon and Mission Bay Drive. From there, access would link up with the Rose Creek Bike Path traveling to Garnet or Grand avenues, or North Mission Bay Drive, before heading west.
Friends of Rose Creek has sued the City alleging an environmental report on the new Balboa Avenue Trolley Station doesn’t comply with the California Environmental Quality Act in failing to address proposed densification near Rose Creek.
Dorow told PB planners the original cost for the 11-mile Mid-Coast Trolley extension was $130 million in 1987 dollars, which did not include interest. He said the current total budget is $2.1 billion, which includes interest.